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UN urged to ban autonomous killing machines

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« on: May 24, 2015, 09:47:05 pm »

UN urged to ban autonomous killing machines
Posted on Saturday, 11 April, 2015 | Comment icon 32 comments

Will weapons one day decide for themselves who to kill ? Image Credit: US Navy
A new report has urged the United Nations to ban 'killer robots' before countries start to develop them.
As the sophistication of weapon systems increases, so too does the risk that we will one day live in a world where machines can not only operate autonomously but decide for themselves, without human intervention, whether someone lives or dies.

Such a future has already been explored in depth in science fiction books and movies, but now thanks to the advent of increasingly advanced computers and ever-more capable robots and drones such a concept might not be as far away as we think.

In a new report published on Thursday by Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School the dangers of autonomous killing machines have been laid bare for all to see - in particular the fact that existing laws would exempt programmers, manufacturers and military commanders from all liability in the event that an automatic platform was to decide that someone should be killed.

The report comes ahead of an international meeting on lethal autonomous weapons systems due to be held by the United Nations in Geneva on April 13th and calls for a complete ban "on the development, production and use" of such weapons via an international, legally binding agreement.

"Fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist," the report authors wrote. "But technology is moving in their direction, and precursors are already in use or development."

"While traditional weapons are tools in the hands of human beings, fully autonomous weapons, once deployed, would make their own determinations about the use of lethal force."

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Source: The Guardian
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